ALM has been providing Korean translations since our company was founded in 2002.. All translation companies aim to offer high quality translations, but employing in-house linguists has allowed ALM to offer our clients niche translations. ALM employs a full-time Korean-English linguist, her expertise has also allowed us to set quality standards in this language combination (and vice versa). Over the years, highly qualified external translators have been tested and monitored. Our Korean translation service and team are quality-checked, rated and monitored by our own linguist.
Korean – a bit about the language
Korean is spoken by around 72 million people and is said to be one of the most difficult languages for English speakers to learn. This is mainly due to the word order, complex honorific system, case clitics (commonly known as “particles” and agglutinative word endings.
Korean is closest to Japanese in terms of grammar. Belonging to the Altaic language family, meaning it’s related to Turkish, Mongolian and Manchu in China.
Having seen our Korean linguist at work, the language is very difficult to translate. This is because of the linguistic style and the fact that Korean is context-based and so can often be open to interpretation. Translated literally, it can make very little sense to a non-Korean speaker, which makes it difficult to understand. Hence, there is a lack of native-English speaking Korean translators.
Upon meeting a Korean for the first time, they will most likely ask you your age as well as your marital status. Although this is considered rude in Western countries, it is important for Koreans so that they know which verb endings, nouns and particles to use when speaking to you.
Most Koreans learn American English and so any foreign brands that have been written in the Korean alphabet (called “hangul”) are written with American English vowels. For example, McDonalds is written as “mekdonalds” to mimic the American “A” sound. This sometimes makes it difficult for British English speakers to work out what the brand is.
Koreans refer to South Korea as “our country” rather than just “Korea”. This is a reflection of the Neo-Confucian philosophy that was the state ideology during the Choseon Dynasty (1392-1897). It creates a feeling that South Korea is “one family” and “one people”.
When meeting Koreans in person, it is polite to bow to elders and to new acquaintances. Hugging and kissing is a no-no. It’s common for men to shake hands upon meeting but don’t expect a good firm handshake as with some other cultures. It’s more of a long, limp affair.
The honorifics system
Korean’s honorifics system is complex, and uses different verb endings and even vocabulary. Depending on who you are speaking to in terms of their age as well as cultural standing and seniority in the workplace all impacts the system.
South Korean industry is dominated by its electronics industry, being the world’s biggest producer of semiconductors. Other major industry sectors include automotive, shipbuilding, agriculture and cosmetics.
ALM’a expert Korean translators will ensure that your translations are accurate. You need reassurance that the information you are providing to your customers will be clear and understood. Key translation areas include patents, marketing and web page translations, ideal if you are looking to sell products and services to your Korean clients or to do business with companies in Korea.
Other recent projects have included translation of large batches of customer feedback and questionnaires and translation of legal contracts and commercial documents.
In additional to translation services, ALM also offers ad hoc and conference interpreting, videos and voice-overs, transcription services, subtitling, telephone interpreting, telemarketing, proofreading, editing and transcreation.
Contact us now to find out how we can help you engage with your customers and grow your business in a global market.